Water-limited environments occupy about half of the Earth's land surface and contain some of the fastest growing population centers in the world. Scarcity or variable distributions of water and nutrients make these environments highly sensitive to change. Given the importance of water-limited environments and the impacts of increasing demands on water supplies and other natural resources, this paper highlights important societal problems and scientific challenges germane to these environments and presents a vision on how to accelerate progress. We argue that improvements in our fundamental understanding of the links between hydrological, biogeochemical, and ecological processes are needed, and the way to accomplish this is by fostering integrated, interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving and hypothesis testing through place-based science. Such an ecohydrological approach will create opportunities to develop new methodologies and ways of thinking about these complex environmental systems and help us improve forecasts of environmental change.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Water Science and Technology